apologies to my faithful traveling readers, I thought I’d take a slight
departure from the regular format today and discuss what I think is a fairly
interesting topic. I’ll bet that as you
read this, you’re aware of “where you are,” right? Now, if the police suddenly knocked on your
door and asked you, “Where were you on the ides of March at
7:13pm!!?” would you remember?
Heck, sometimes I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast (unless
it was biscuits and gravy, I love me some biscuits and gravy). How on earth are people expected to remember
where they were several days or weeks ago?
I got to
thinking and actually, I can do that! My
Outlook calendar (synced with my cell) has my whole schedule in it, and while
it doesn’t tell me what I ate or what time I made it back to my hotel room it
does jog the memory enough to remember things like, “Oh yea, that was the
week in L.A. where the manager gave me 20,000 extra bonus points for that
horrific burger they brought to my room… I had room service that day… I bet I
have a receipt scanned into an expense report somewhere… yep, here it is…”
and so it goes.
At the risk
of sounding too anal retentive, I also download all of the GPS data from my
handheld GPS to my laptop at the completion of every trip. If you were to look at my “World
Map” you’d see a multi-hundred legged spider branching out all over the
Sunday, March 9th at 3:12pm, I was 35,438 feet over the flatlands of
amazing to me what people track and what they keep. Recently, I had a customer in my class who
works for our government’s Food and Drug Administration. They use my company’s software for their
database needs. Did you know that the
FDA tracks every single can of Pork and Beans that comes off of a
manufacturer’s assembly line? That
database has more than 500 million records in it right now (and counting), and
each record represents an individual can.
If you asked them to, they could trace any can all the way back to the
individually numbered pig who had the misfortune of “giving up the
bacon” and to the processor who handled the meat.
I wonder if
Charles Ingalls (You remember “Little House on the Prairie,” right?)
would have known to call the FDA if Laura would have eaten some tainted pork. I also wonder if he ever paid into Welfare,
collected unemployment, got sued for sexual harassment, or celebrated
“Diversity,” but I digress…
here is this, all of these records can allow you to provide some outstanding
customer service AND allow you to protect your company at the same time! A few weeks ago I bought a six pack of
Rolling Rock beer from my local liquor store.
My wife loves the stuff. Anyway,
she opened one bottle, sniffed it, made an awful face (I’ve seen this face
before; someone’s in trouble when that face is made), and told me, “This
is a bad batch of beer.” I called
the customer service number on the box and a nice lady from Budweiser answered
(yes, Bud makes Rolling Rock). She asked
me for some information that was stamped on the box and the bottles of
beer. Within a few minutes, she
confirmed to me that those bottles came from a known lot that was
“suspect” and she actually sent me a check for the full amount of the
purchase! How’s that for cool?